Voting on Cap-and-Trade


Ezra Klein writes today about Nancy Pelosi and the politics of voting in the House of Representatives:

On June 26, Pelosi passed cap and trade out of the House. Many considered it a huge, unforced error. The Senate wouldn’t consider the bill for many months, if it ever took it up at all. Health-care reform was in full swing. And Pelosi had just forced her most vulnerable members to take an incredibly difficult vote.

….Talking to congressional Democrats over these past few months, Pelosi’s decision to push cap and trade came up in almost every conversation. Coaxing support from vulnerable members who hadn’t yet forgiven the leadership for cap and trade had, according to some of these sources, become one of the biggest obstacles to health-care reform.

I confess that I never understood the problem that swing-district House members had with this.  If I were a vulnerable congressman, I’d want this vote taken as far before the midterm elections as possible.  If it turns out to be a risky and ultimately wasted vote because the Senate doesn’t act, well, at least it was a risky vote 17 months before next November.  That’s an eternity.  A vote in June is a lot less likely to be a salient campaign issue than, say, a vote in December or January.

In any case, as Ezra says, Pelosi’s early vote now looks very smart: “It’s virtually impossible to imagine the House passing cap and trade in the coming months, not after the exhausting health-care reform battle and not as the midterm election draws closer.”  The whole thing is now out of the way and largely forgotten unless the Senate passes a bill, and if that happens, at least House members will be voting next year on something real.  It’s a lot easier to talk yourself into taking a risk for a real accomplishment than it is merely to make a quixotic point.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.